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‘Bring on Barcelona’ say Real players after mauling of Moscow

REAL Madrid's players insist the club will be as happy to meet Barcelona as any other side in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Madrid booked their place in the last eight with a 4-1 victory at home to CSKA Moscow last night to advance 5-2 on aggregate.

Their bitter Primera Division rivals are on course to defend their European crown and, despite losing to the Catalans in the semi-finals of last year's competition, defender Sergio Ramos is not desperate to avoid them in the next round.

“If they advance in the competition and we keep on doing things well we might meet in the final,” he said in Marca.

“But if it happens earlier, in the quarters, there will be no problem.”

Midfielder Xabi Alonso, who will miss the first leg of the quarter-final through suspension after picking up a yellow card last night, also claimed the capital club will not shy away from a clash with Barcelona.

“The seven other teams that remain in the championship deserve to be here,” he said.

“The draw tomorrow will be interesting, but the quarter-finals will be very exciting regardless of who our opponents are. There are no easy games left and if the draw determines we should face Barcelona we will fight to the very end.”

Gonzalo Higuain, who has been linked with a move away from the Bernabeu after starting just 12 league games so far this term, opened the scoring for Madrid and claims the speculation over his future is not troubling him. “I'm happy for reaching the next round and because I scored in an important game,” the Argentina striker said

“I'm happy for the team, for my team-mates and for reaching the quarter-finals, which is what matters.

“I was never worried about my future. I'm at ease and my mind is set on what remains of the season. We'll see who our opponents are in the next round, but in order to win the title you have to defeat every team.”

Real’s thoroughbred forward Cristiano Ronaldo netted twice in the win over CSKA, with Higuain and substitute Karim Benzema also finding the net as Jose Mourinho's side, chasing Real's first continental crown since 2002 and 10th European Cup, secured their place in tomorrow's draw.

Former Manchester United winger Zoran Tosic rewarded the travelling CSKA fans with a goal 13 minutes from time when he rounded Pepe and lashed the ball high past Iker Casillas from just outside the area, prompting a furious reaction from Mourinho.

“It wasn't spectacular but it was a mature display,” Mourinho said. “We managed to dominate and the game was mostly played out in their half.”

CSKA coach Leonid Slutski said: “To obtain a result here, we had to play our best game and make no mistakes,” “But we made mistakes and gave them the chance to attack us.”